Soaking the cabbage in lemon water adds flavor, eases digestion, and cuts down on the need for salt. Some cooks add pineapple to this Aguascalientes style mixed vegetable salad, but I find it to be an odd fit with the Russian-style dressing. Try shredded jicama instead, and be sure to use red cabbage, which makes for an appetizingly colorful salad.
- ½ medium head red cabbage, shredded
- 2 cups water
- Juice of ½ lemon
- ½ head romaine lettuce, cut crosswise into strips
- ½ pound carrots, shredded
- 2 large stalks celery, very thinly sliced
- ¼ cup mayonnaise
- ½ cup Mexican crema or crème fraiche
- ¼ cup catsup
- Salt and pepper to taste
Place the cabbage in a bowl with the water and lemon juice. Let the cabbage soak for one hour, then drain thoroughly. (I use a salad spinner to remove any extra water.)
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage with the lettuce, carrots and celery. If not serving right away, cover and refrigerate.
Mix the mayonnaise, crema and catsup. Taste and add salt and pepper. Refrigerate this dressing, covered, separately if not serving the salad right away. Just before serving, add to the vegetable mixture and toss thoroughly. Serves 4.
The humble cabbage: A Mexican cook’s loyal friend